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Michigan Posts Slight Sports Betting Slide in May

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Michigan Posts Slight Sports Betting Slide in May
Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan. Rey Del Rio/Getty Images/AFP

The previously robust Michigan legal sports betting scene took another slight step back in May according to a report released by the Michigan Gaming Control Board on Tuesday. The numbers follow a pattern of expected handle and revenue dips during the typically slow summer months. May marked the second straight month that Michigan has seen a decrease in their overall handle and sports betting revenues.

There have been mixed results from the broader US legal sports betting scene so far. While some, like Michigan, have seen seasonal slides continue in May, states like Indiana and Iowa actually saw betting activity in their states increase over the 31-day period.

The Slide

Michigan sportsbooks took in $257.7 million in the month of May after both mobile and retail. That number represents a 6% dip from the $274.2 million sportsbooks reported in April. May’s total is a far cry from the record $359.5 million Michigan bettors coughed up in March.

Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayMichigan.com said that Michigan was “hit by the seasonality of sports betting and struggling local teams.”

Matt Schoch, an analyst at PlayMichigan.com, said: “The lack of success of the Detroit team has naturally lost interest, and Michigan faces too many short-term factors to completely overcome.”

Not surprisingly, gross gaming revenues for the Michigan legal sports betting scene also revealed a month-over-month decrease. The state’s sportsbooks made $11.7 million in May, down 5.6% from the $12.4 million in profits reported in April.

Tax and Mobile Contributions

Michigan sportsbook contributed $615,152 in taxes to state coffers in May, which is up an impressive 96.7% thanks to a higher win rate for sportsbooks in May. The city of Detroit collected $378,631 in taxes in May, which is an increase of 102.5% from April.

Michigan’s mobile sports betting apps were responsible for the bulk over overall May handle. $237.6 million of the overall $257.7 million handle came from the state’s sports betting apps in May, a 4.9% drop over the same period in April. $20.2 million came from Michigan’s retail betting sector.

When combined with Michigan’s online casinos, the total online adjusted gross receipts for May were reported to be $9.9 million, a 9.2% drop from the $10.9 million in April. $993,784 in state taxes was generated from all online betting in Michigan during May.

More About Online Casinos

Online casinos also experienced an ever-so slight drop-off but became a valuable win of the Michigan legal sports betting scene in May. Online casinos generated $94.9 million in bets in May, about the same as April’s totals and just a slight dip from $95.1 million in March.

“Online casinos are the driving force behind revenue generation,” says Jessica Wellman. “Even though retail casinos around Detroit have become more accessible, revenue remains high. In the future, the popularity of these games will be maintained and perhaps expanded over the next few months, even if retail casino operations remain stable.”

Already Looking Toward September

The whole of the US legal sports betting industry is increasingly focused on September 9 and the kickoff of the 2021-2022 NFL season. The seasonal slowdowns are real, and an expected necessary evil of the lean summer sports betting months.

“Despite the declines in betting volume, there aren’t any systemic issues. Even if the Lions’ prospects are equally dim, substantial growth will almost certainly return with the beginning of football season,” said Matt Schoch.

So, despite the dip in Michigan’s sports betting handle, analysts don’t’ seem to be worried about the broader betting scene in that market. Retail should pick up with the return of what promises to be a robust tourism season, the Olympics and Euro 2020 are on the betting menu and the overall betting culture in Michigan is as optimistic as ever.